New data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that the number of human West Nile virus (WNV) infections in Europe has increased 3.4 fold so far this year compared to the entire season last year.
A total of 975 confirmed and probable indigenous cases were reported by European countries up to August 30, including 710 in European Union /European Economic Area (EU/EEA) Member States and 265 in EU neighbouring countries. Italy reported the highest number of cases (327), followed by Serbia (213), Greece (147), Romania (117) and Hungary (96). In comparison, during the last major WNV season in 2010, 393 human WNV infections were reported in the EU/EEA and EU neighbouring countries.
A total of 63 deaths due to WNV infection have been reported this year by Serbia (21), Greece (16), Italy (13), Romania (12) and Kosovo (1).
The ECDC said the high number of cases observed this year compared with previous years suggests a high level of virus circulation in affected countries, which could potentially result in an even higher number of cases during the coming months.